The Connecticut (Kwinitekw) River Valley has long been a crossroad for Native nations, serving as a vital trade route, canoe highway, and diplomatic center for millennia. Today, the Valley remains a central gathering place for Native people from the region and beyond.
Massachusetts is home to two federally recognized tribes, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and the Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah, as well as several state and community, recognized tribes, including the Nipmuc nation. To the south are the Mohegan, Pequot, Schaghticoke and Paugusset nations. To the north are the Abenaki, as well as the Penobscot Indian Nation, the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point and Indian Township, the Houlton Band of Maliseet and Aroostook Band of Micmacs. To the west is the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, including the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora nations.
Situated within the Connecticut River Valley, amidst the beautiful rolling hills of the Holyoke Range, Amherst College offers strong courses, particularly in its American Studies and English departments, taught by scholars who have trained extensively in Native studies. Through our institutional membership in the Five College Consortium, Amherst College students can earn a Certificate in Native American and Indigenous Studies, which offers a structured understanding of historical and contemporary issues affecting the Western Hemisphere's First Nations. Through a variety of courses offered not only at Amherst but throughout the Five Colleges, students will learn how these issues are embedded in the long histories of Native peoples.
Outside the classroom, Amherst College regularly invites Native leaders, artists, writers, scholars and activists to give public talks and presentations, as well as to participate in class discussions. The University of Massachusetts, just across town from Amherst College, also regularly hosts such events, including guest speakers from the region’s Native nations.